A former minister has been embroiled in a new Lobbygate scandal today after allegedly being caught using his position to help a private company influence Parliament.
Former minister Tim Yeo was filmed appearing to boast that he had previously coached a paying client in private on how to influence the committee he leads.
Speaking to undercover reporters posing as representatives of a green energy firm looking to hire him, Mr Yeo said he could introduce them to ‘almost everyone you needed to get hold of in this country’, it was reported today.
The MP, who is a former environment minister and chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change select committee, ‘vigorously’ denied the claims.
It is claimed reporters from The Sunday Times approached Mr Yeo posing as representatives of a solar energy company offering to hire him for £7,000 a day to push for new laws to boost its business.
Over dinner at a central London restaurant, Mr Yeo told them he could work at least one day a month, despite already holding four other private jobs and being in negotiations to take two more.
Speaking on camera, he said: ‘If you want to meet the right people, I can facilitate all those introductions and I can use the knowledge I get from what is quite an active network of connections.
‘I think I could help define how to influence the policy process here, at national level, on a local level.
‘Maybe contribute to the sort of way in which you might get a campaign going behind this and so on.’
Asked if he could advocate behind the scenes as he wasn’t able to publicly, he said: ‘Of course, what I say to people in private is another matter altogether.’
The MP for Suffolk South since 1983 also said he could help the reporters by guiding them on submitting evidence to his own committee, which he described as ‘a good way of getting your stuff on the map’.
Mr Yeo went on to describe how he had advised GB Rail Freight’s managing director John Smith before the executive gave evidence to the committee last month.